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What Makes Marijuana Smell and Taste the Way it Does?


Terpenes are one of the most critical components in the taste, aroma, and effects that cannabis strains provide.

Patients with qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in West Virginia have a growing number of choices at dispensaries, and different terpene profiles will make up for entirely different experiences.

In this article, we’ll cover how terpenes can change the taste and smell of cannabis, and why choosing the right terpene profile is important!

Why Terpenes Are Critical for Cannabis

Why are Terpenes in Plants?

Terpenes are small fragrant oils that are secreted by plants to perform a job.

That job might be to repel predators or attract pollinators for example, and terpenes are an incredible example of evolutionary plant biology.

These tiny oils are particularly desirable because they have distinct aromas and flavors, and combining them in various ways can produce unique and enjoyable tastes and smells.

What Causes Terpenes to be Present in Cannabis?

Although terpenes are found in many different plants, when present in cannabis, they produce the flavor, aromas, and some of the effects that cannabis provides.

And because terpenes are found in trichomes, the same resinous glands where cannabinoids are found, they play an important role in cannabis altogether, and especially in the entourage effect.

Terpenes that are present in cannabis plants are affected by several different factors including soil, climate, age, and temperature. These, and many other elements can determine how many and what kind of terpenes are present in a cannabis strain.

Cannabis Terpene Aromas

Common vs Rare Terpenes

With over a hundred different terpenes, there are a variety of different smells that cannabis strains can produce. The familiar “skunky” smell of cannabis, or the “diesel”, “gassy” aroma are thanks to different compositions of terpenes in that particular strain.

Some strains give off more of a berry scent, while others will have a strong woodsy smell. There’s nearly an infinite number of possibilities with combining different terpenes, so each cannabis strain can have its own unique scent.


List of Cannabis Terpenes & Their Aromas

If you’re looking for strains that have certain types of smells, this is the list for you.

Among the various types of cannabis strain aromas, you’ll likely find some commonalities such as a gasoline, berry, or lemon scent, and many families of strains such as “OG’s” or “Kushes” have common smells.


· Berry/Citrus – Terpenes: Limonene, Linalool, Myrcene

Strains: Amnesia Haze, Durban Poison, Super Lemon Haze


· Disel/Gas Terpenes: Caryophyllene, Myrcene, Limonene

Strains: Sour Diesel, Chemdog, Jet Fuel


· Earthy/Woodsy – Terpenes: Myrcene, Alpha-Pinene, Caryophyllene

Strains: Green Crack, Bubba Kush, Northern Lights

· SkunkTerpenes: Myrcene

Strains: Super Skunk, Lemon Skunk, AK-47

How Terpenes Produce Cannabis Smell

The Combination of Terpenes Produce Smell & Taste

What really drives the smell and taste of cannabis is the different combinations of terpenes, similar to when you mix colors such as red and blue to make purple.

While having just one dominant terpene can produce a certain aroma, like myrcene with its “skunk” aroma, when you combine it with alpha-pinene and caryophyllene, it produces more of a woodsy smell.

This unique composition of terpenes can significantly impact aromas and tastes, and it’s why you can have the same strain taste or smell slightly different depending on how the cannabis plant is grown.

Become a Cannabis Connoisseur with Terpenes

The best (and quite frankly, the most fun) way to determine what combinations of terpenes you enjoy the most is to try them all!


Trying out different combinations of terpenes from cannabis strains can give you a comprehensive idea of what smells and tastes you like, and most importantly, which ones you don’t like.

While many patients often develop favorite flavors and aromas, often it’s more important to find out which ones you don’t like.

Some people have rare allergies to certain terpenes, and those should be avoided in cannabis strains. While this is extremely uncommon, it can happen, so knowing which terpenes are right for you can make a huge difference in setting up a treatment plan that works effectively for your symptoms.


Get Your Medical Marijuana Certification in West Virginia

West Virginia offers a comprehensive medical marijuana program, and dispensaries are open and available for patients who have been certified for medical marijuana to legally purchase cannabis products.

Take the steps to schedule your medical marijuana evaluation appointment today and get access to legal marijuana products available at dispensaries!

Being a West Virginia medical marijuana patient allows you the freedom to take your medication the right way for you. We’re dedicated to helping patients every step of the way! Feel free to give us a call at 877-303-8424 and we can answer your questions about getting a medical marijuana card in West Virginia.


Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.

West Virginia Marijuana Card’s mission is to help everyone achieve

wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana.

Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for

our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

If you have any questions, call us at 877-303-8424, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out West Virginia Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in West Virginia.